Friday, 27 May 2011

Introduction To My Garden

Most people's garden are comprising of a little piece of tilled dirt to plant vegetables in located in the backyard, with a flower garden in the front. Pretty, well placed and plain! I feel I have an one of a kind backyard. When my husband and I bought our house in the summer of 2009, we didn't really pay attention to the backyard. We saw it had a pond and a mulched area but that was the extent of our investigation. Our house as a steal of a deal, and the backyard was the icing on the cake.

To start off with, the first plant we discovered was a grape vine! Yup, I have grapes in my backyard. Great for making jellies and juice with. We also found strawberries and raspberries right beside it. The next summer, I discovered Manitoban cranberries, saskatoons and nanking cherries. The most prolific plant in the garden was chives. Chives never ending, more than I would and will ever need to use. But let me tell you, omelettes just don't taste the same unless there is a sprinkling of chives. (On the note of chives, yesterday I inherited a garlic chive. I'm excited to see how the flavour stands up to garlic.) Beside the chives, I found wild mint and lavender. My grandmother-in-law (who, I might add, is one of the most fantastic ladies I have ever met) told me to keep an eye out on those mint plants. They will take over your yard if you let them. She also said she was surprised lavender was growing because lavender isn't zoned for this climate. And yet, I had two plants of it (Sadly, one died over the winter. May it rest in peace.) At the back of the garden I have many, many wild roses. Many people don't know that rose hips are chalk full of vitamin C, and can be used to make rose hip jelly or dried for tea. And way over yonder, in the far back corner of my garden was a lonely rhubarb plant. Now, as my front yard is facing north, I don't have many plants growing there. But, late last summer, I saw a camomile plant struggling for life. I'm still unsure if it will return, but it was a nice surprise. One interesting lesson I learned last year was that if you are lazy and forget to pull all the bulbs of green onions out of your garden in the fall, they will overwinter, springing to life at the first hint of spring. Hence why they are also called spring onions. It's only been a month, but I've already had to split them. Now the plants I have all listed are my perennials, which means I still have my annuals to cover. I am trying my hardest to use my yard to the fullest, growing as much as I can to ensure that my husband and I will be supported during the winter months in terms of vegetables. So far, I have planted 5 rows of carrots, 10 potatoes, 4 shallots, rosemary, thyme, basil and oregano. I have 12 roma tomato plants, 6 red peppers, 2 butternut squashes and a pumpkin plant waiting for the cold weather to pass before I plant them. I also have bush beans to be planted, and I am thinking of planting large bulb onions. Another plant I consider to be included is my mom's apple tree. Now my mom lives one and a half hours away, but she shares her apples with me, and I love them! (And her!) In future posts, I will be covering planting, care, harvesting and uses of all the plants mentioned.
Oh yes, and as mentioned, I have a pond! I also have a frog right now that is living in it. One day I hope to put fish in there. But for now, the frog will suffice. Birds love it (they come and bath in it) and one time we had a raccoon come for a visit!

Happy Homesteading!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

What is Urban Homesteading?

Urban homesteading refers to a household that produces a significant portion of their food, including livestock and produce, to be consume by its residents. Other ways in which people may practice urban homesteading is through the use of solar energy, harvesting rainwater, re-using or recycling materials into a new use, as well as gathering wild edibles, composting and food preservation (canning).
Now, why would someone want to practice urban homesteading. The reasons are many and each unique. Over the past decade, the use of pesticides, hormones and genetically-modified foods in the food industry has been a focus of society. As well, the recession caused havoc on families finances. A good remedy to these problems is to grow your own food. You can control the pesticides, added hormones and whether it is genetically modified or not. Now people may think that growing their own vegetables costs just as much as buying them at the store, but those people would be wrong. The cost of one roma tomato plant is $3.19. One plant will produce anywhere form 5 to 10 lbs of tomatoes. One can also say that you need to include the cost of tending to the plant. I say, look at it as a form of exercise, and a way to spend time with family. By composting, you reduce the amount of food that goes to your local landfill, therefore reducing the outrageous population of dump gulls. The composted material can then be added back into your garden as a source of nutrients, meaning one does not have to go and buy fertilizer. Each aspect of urban homesteading is a way to save you money, protect and increase your health, and ensure that if the world ends (such as with this past May 21st) you would be prepared. Did you know that the world's food industry only has enough food to last the entire world 20 days? Scary, right?
I hope that this gives you a good eye opener into the world of urban homesteading, and gives you something to think about. In later posts, I will be covering the harms of pesticides, hormones and genetically modified foods and so on.

Happy Homesteading!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The Beginning


My name is Rae and I am an urban homesteader. I am very honoured to have you visit. This blog is my way of sharing ways of becoming more sustainable, relying on your own means as much as possible, the adventures and catastrophe's at I will endure along the way, and interesting information that I come across in my pursuit of a happy, healthy, self-sustained life! Many of the topics discussed will be about my garden, canning or freezing food, reducing household costs while increasing their green initiative, the natural wonders of Manitoba that elude most people, and may possibly include hunting, fishing and wild harvesting. If you have a topic that you wish for me to discuss, feel free to leave me a note. I hope that you will find this blog to be insightful, informative and life-changing.

Happy Homesteading!